Book Review: Erased Volume 4

June 21, 2017

Erased Volume 4 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, regardless of
whether you are on break or putting up with the monotony of the working life.

Things are still going fairly well, as I wait for one more
title to arrive this month, and am still grateful that I can do something that
I enjoy.

Recently, I received copies of the two books I was
anticipating the most this month, and I have covered one of them, which leaves
only one more title.

Today, I will be reviewing that last remaining title, which
is called Erased Volume 4 by Kei Sanbe.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
, I will not go over it again.

After being arrested by the police, Satoru's ability kicks
in and he once again finds himself in 1988, and he determined to do things a
bit differently, in order to get the result that he wanted, based on the
revelation he found in the present.

However, somebody has noticed that Satoru is not the same he
was when 1988 was the present, and Satoru is going to need their help if he is
to have any chance at finally getting the future he wants and bring the true
criminal to justice, starting with rescuing Hinazuki and establishing an alibi
for jobseekers his friend on death row.

While the last volume had a lot to like, I am very well
aware that things will eventually decline, so I cannot give works of fiction
too much slack.

And, after reading this volume, I can say that I kind of
liked it, though not as much as the previous
volume
.

Like the last volume, the moment that I opened up this book
and started reading, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have
to satisfy the same needs as every other human being.

While the previous volume was this way because of Kei's
ability as a writer and how well he executed things, I think that the real
reason can be traced to two things.

First, the people over in Japan that put these volumes
together ended the previous volume in a way that made me wonder what exactly
had happened after Satoru saw the face of what is most likely his enemy, though
nobody knows for sure at this point in the series, other than those that went
through all the chapters like I have, since I did put a list
up on my personal wiki that details
which episodes adapt which chapters and some small notes if things were vastly
different between the two.

The hardest thing about creating a series, and why I do not
really care to produce stories that cannot stand on their own, is that it is
difficult to determine where to end one installment and begin another, because
if the writer is not careful, the reader would have lost interest in the series
relatively quickly, just like how Secret Volume
1
disappointed me because the only mystery I was left with was whether the
first murderer died or not.

For this reason, I brought up in my review of that volume
that not only are cliffhangers necessary to give the reader an incentive to continue
on with a series, it is also important to have that cliffhanger happen at just
the right spot, which avid readers and the professional editors at the various
publishing houses are most likely able to detect.

Fortunately, Kadokawa Shoten or whoever it was they had make
decision when compiling the 44 or so chapters of this series into volumes, was
able to notice the right place to end the third volume, and it helped to make
this volume a bit more interesting by beginning on the right foot, and does
make me want to give them a good amount of applause.

However, I think that the real people that deserve credit
for pulling this off is Yen Press.

Even though the publishers that take our favorite manga that
was published in Japan have little to no creative control, according to the interview
that Hope Donovan had with Kristina Pino, which I first linked to in my review
of the previous volume, I do not think that I would have been able to enjoy the
series as much as I have if Yen Press did not decide to release it here two
volumes at a time, instead of doing what most manga publishers do and release
only one volume at a time.

Some of you guys might be saying that I am giving Yen Press
way too much credit, forgetting that I was quite angry with them about what
they did to Judge
Volume 6
, and that I might be blinded because I am a fan of the series,
but, as I brought up numerous times, including my review of episode
3
of A
Certain Scientific Railgun S
, there are things are not going to be that
interesting if too much time passes between the moment somebody watched or read
something and the time that they get a continuation of those events, and the
people at Yen Press seem to understand that, just like every other publisher or
television studio executive should.

After all, the only way writers, publishers, and all the
other people putting books together can only make money is if readers, their
customers, can get the maximum enjoyment out of a work, which can only be
guaranteed if things are delivered in a timely manner and with as few flaws as
possible, and Yen Press has been doing that quite well so far.

Nice job, Yen Press. You certainly deserved my continued
patronage, and I hope you guys do not disappointment me as badly as you once
did, even if I know that everyone at Yen Press is only human.

Another thing that I really liked was how Satoru ended up
doing things differently this time around.

While Satoru did not do exactly everything he did when he
really was a child at the time that he got to relive his elementary school
days, he tried to take on everything himself and only talked to Yashiro about
his suspicions and such, not mention that he was too confident that things would
work out, which is something that no human should ever be confident about.

Here, however, he was able to get help from the adults, like
his mother and Yashiro, but he even got a few of his friends to help out, one
of whom has already been confirmed to be among the victims of the 1988 case
back in the previous volume, and he seemingly got further along in his goal to
prevent the deaths back then, though nothing is guaranteed at this point.

Now, realistically, I would expect Satoru would once again
repeat his mistakes, because people are not really going to be able to change
what they want if there is some way that we could relive the moments that we
regret, but because the 1988 case and the events of 2006 have been established
to be connected and Satoru's initial failure told him that he could change the
past, the story would not have been as interesting as it could be and would
have made terrible enough to not consider this a good thriller series.

Fortunately, Kei Sanbe understands the importance of this part
of his story, unlike John Grisham, who no longer seems to be able to create a
good thriller, and, as a result, I am still getting the same feelings of a work
in the thriller genre, which I mentioned in my review of
The Whistler.

Not too sure about you guys, but the halfway point of this
series seems to already be going the way that it should, and I feel like giving
Kei Sanbe another nice round of applause.

Hopefully, things can stay like this for the last four
volumes, because this series is still just as interesting as when it began and
I want it to go out with a bang, but I am aware that things could get worse,
since there are people who were not entirely happy with the final 20 or so
chapters go.

Still, Kei Sanbe has been able to do a good job so far in
maintaining a consistent quality up to now.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the volume
showed that children can be very observant.

Around the time that Satoru returned to 1988, right at the
point where he went to the museum with Hinazuki, Kenya asks Satoru if he read
the book that he lent him, to which Satoru replies that he had not read it yet,
while clearly stating in his thoughts that he does not remember receiving a
book, but Kenya later says that there never was a book and that he was only
testing him.

Now, Kenya has been quite observant throughout the course of
the series, as he notices quite a few things, but people tend to think that
children are not that reliable and that things can be hidden from them, when,
in actuality, they see and hear a lot of things, even if they do not understand
what it is they are seeing or hear, which is why Arthur Hayward told his son to
watch Josephine because a child's eye is the best evidence, even though it does
not stand up well in court, in chapter 12 of Crooked
House
.

Yes, Crooked House is among my least favorite books
from Agatha Christie, but even the most disappointing works in the detective,
mystery, and crime fiction genres have some grain of truth, and, in the context
of this particular series, the fact that a child noticed something others did
not is one of the reasons why I am grateful that I do follow all of society's
normal behaviors, otherwise I would not be able to know as much as I do today.

Kei has been trying hard at making the children in this
series come off as actual children, and if he forgot about how observant they
can be, I would have been very disappointed in the way things were going, even
if the parents of some of Satoru's friends in 1988 seem to be irresponsible,
and it makes the story a bit more enjoyable, as his current allies could help
further if and when the series returns to the present, which makes me want to
give Kei Sanbe another good round of applause.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that would not spoil the events to come in
the next four volumes.

Because I my interest was captured and held throughout most
of the volume, though it had more to do with the fact that the last volume
ended just right and Yen Press's decision to release two volumes at a time than
Kei's writing ability, Satoru actually did things a bit differently this time,
and that Kei Sanbe remembered that children can pick up on things others
cannot, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I did like the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, and one or two things that initially seemed like problems, but
either were not there on second look or might be important later, if I am
remembering things correctly, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth
mentioning, at least until the future volumes prove whether I was right to be
bothered by the things that I had written off.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, even though
Kei was probably not responsible for contributing towards the positive too
much, this was was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of Kei Sanbe, Boku Dake ga Inai
Machi
, and thriller stories, because they would be able to enjoy this the
most, and the thriller genre seems to be much more appropriate for this series
than the mystery genre at this point.

As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try but it
might be better to read the other volumes first, otherwise it might not be as
interesting as it was to me.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
considering supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed book from the link
provided towards the beginning or, if you prefer a physical copy, buy Yen
Press's second compilation from here, so
that I can continue following this series and even find more worthwhile reads
for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses
you.

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